North Dakota Child Custody Laws

When parents of dependent children get legally separated or divorced, they must come up with a plan for where the child will live and how visitation with the other parent will be arranged. If parents are unable to reach an agreement, state child custody laws inform the court on how to proceed -- always with the child's own best interests in mind. While "physical custody" refers to where the child lives, "legal custody" refers to the parents' abilities to make important life decisions for their child.

North Dakota Child Custody Laws at a Glance

While joint custody was once rare in North Dakota, family courts in the state now base custody decisions on the assumption that a relationship with both parents is in the child's best interests. North Dakota also allows grandparents the right to visit with their grandchildren. See the North Dakota Department of Human Services' Parenting Time Facts section to learn more about visitation.

You can find additional details about North Dakota child custody laws in the chart below. See FindLaw's extensive Child Custody section for more articles and resources.

Code Section 14-09-06 et seq.
Year Uniform Child Custody Act Adopted 1969
Joint Custody an Option? Yes (decision is made based on the assumption that it is best for the child to have a close relationship with both parents, depending on the circumstances)
Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized?

Yes, ยง14-09-05.1

The grandparents and great-grandparents of an unmarried minor child may be granted reasonable visitation rights to the child by the district court upon a finding that visitation would be in the best interests of the child and would not interfere with the parent-child relationship.

The court shall consider the amount of personal contact that has occurred between the grandparents or great-grandparents and the child and the child's parents.

Child's Own Wishes Considered? Yes (14-09-06.2)

Note: State laws tend to change quite frequently through a number of means, including the enactment of new legislation and decisions from higher courts. You may want to contact a North Dakota child custody attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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